- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum says he can't seem to get defensive coordinator Mike Pettine out of the draft room. And taking a quick look at the roster, it's easy to see why. The team needs a pass rusher, and until Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jason Taylor decides to come to the Jets, that will be the most pressing requirement when the 2010 NFL draft gets underway next Thursday.
The Jets tried to address this two years ago when they drafted Vernon Gholston with the No. 6 pick. The team has tried to convert him into an outside linebacker, but Gholston has been painfully slow to develop the skills despite having the size. Taylor would be a temporary solution, but if he waffles the Jets will have to use another first-round pick to address the situation.
This year the Jets have the 29th pick, and will need to use it to back up a defensive line that is getting a bit older.
Starting today, ESPNNewYork.com will look at three pass-rushers the Jets are considering for the draft, starting with Penn State's Jared Odrick. Next: USC defensive end Everson Griffen.
Pos: Defensive tackle
School: Penn State
STRENGTHS: Odrick had 43 tackles last season and was named Big Ten defensive player of the year. He is unusually tough, which makes him an appealing player for Rex Ryan's defense-first system. In 2007 he broke two bones in his left hand and was back on the field a week later. An ankle injury took him out of the rotation for the rest of that season. His size is optimal, and he is considered a tremendous fit for a standard 3-4 defense. He ran a 5.09 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. His quickness is evident in his first step, which at his size could make him a formidable pass-rusher in the NFL. Odrick visited the Jets, and has been moving up mock draft boards as the NFL Draft gets closer. Video shows that he has clear instincts when it comes to getting to the quarterback, something the Jets would have a hard time passing on.
WEAKNESSES: Odrick isn't seen as an exceptional pass-rusher at this point, and Ryan and his staff would have to work to convert some of his current skills. After having such a hard time converting Gholston to an OLB, do the Jets want to take on another potential project? Either way, Odrick isn't intimidated by change. "Any team I go to, there's going to be an adjustment period," Odrick said at the scouting combine. "...That's something I'm not afraid of or don't think I can't handle." Another possible negative: Odrick was charged with disorderly conduct in 2008 after an alleged altercation with other students.
McSHAY'S TAKE: "The Jets are aging a bit along the defensive front and Odrick would be a nice addition given his quick first step." --Todd McShay, ESPN draft analyst
5hEric D. Williams